A few days ago, an industry acquaintance forwarded a newspaper URL. It reported a raid on a prominent US cable manufacturer who found himself under lock and seal from the US Customs Department for alleged violations of proper country-of-origin disclosure. Seizing computers, records and huge inventories, the Feds claim that the company deliberately obscured Chinese and other Asian origins by attaching 'Made in the US' stickers to their merchandise. The newspaper quoted the company's owner as being unaware of any legal violations since final assembly of the products in fact had taken place on US soil. While regulations may continue to recognize a certain percentage of foreign ingredients as acceptable for 'made here' stickers, domestic car makers have to disclose in plain sight a parts-content declaration that lists, in percentile figures, which countries have contributed how much in parts to the final product then branded a Chevrolet or Ford or Cadillac.

Laws change and evolve. Legislature unfortunately makes operators responsible for staying abreast of updates and revisions. Ignorance doesn't equate to innocence. Manufacturers who currently incorporate foreign parts in products labeled as having been produced domestically may want to assure that their understanding or interpretation of existing regulations is up-to-date and to-the-letter. Having an 18-wheel semi truck pull up in your parking lot at 9:00AM on a Monday morning to confiscate your inventories and seize your assets won't be your idea of a good time when it happens to you. This is not a joke. It did just happen.

A little education will go a long way to help avoid the current catastrophe that has befallen our cable manufacturer who shall go anonymous to not feed popular mentality that too easily preys on the misfortunes of others. Rather than pointing fingers, this brief notice is meant to alert our US-based friends in audio manufacturing that legislature may have changed over when they last consulted it. What was permissible in the past could have become a punishable violation of federal law today. "Made in China" no longer carries the stigma it once did. Don't be stupid in an attempt to disguise who makes -- most of -- your products while putting at grave risk your business and means of livelihood. Don't get shut down overnight and without a warning. It's just not worth it.